If you’ve read the adventures of Prince Charlie, you know of his travels through the islands from April to July of 1746. Constantly eluding pursuers, he stayed in 20 places in 70 days, with just one respite: three weeks in Glen Coradail.
Coradail was, and is, an excellent bolt hole; a natural fortress guarded by Gèideabhal, Hecla, and Teach an Truibhais; a trinity of peaks praised in Beanntan Uibhist (The Bens of Uist), by the poet Dòmhnall Iain MacDòmhnaill:
Tha Gèideabhal nan geur-chlach cas
Mar leug ‘s i laist an òr-fhainne;
Tha Heacal chiar nan strìochdan glas
Na siantan bras cha leòn iad i:
Tha Teach an Triubhais dùmhail trom,
Le cìrean tollach cleòcanach,
A’ sgurrachadh suas le uaill bha ‘barr,
‘S gur dual dha plàsta ceò bhith air.
Gèideabhal of the sharp, steep rocks
Is like a jewel shining in a gold ring;
Dark Hecla of the grey streaks
Proof against the blustering elements:
Teach an Truibhais is bulky, thickset,
With a ragged, mantled crest,
Towering proudly at its top,
Usually tipped with mist.
Two of these mountain names may not sound familiar: Gèideabhal and Teach an Truibhais. Gèideabhal, which I think means 'Goat peak', is the old name for Beinn Mhor, the highest hill on S. Uist. Teach an Truibhais is the old name for Ben Chorodail, and means 'the crotch of the trousers'.
The reason for the strange name is readily apparent when you look at the OS map of Coradail. If you do, you’ll see two ridges arcing towards each other that meet at the knobby tip of Beinn Corodail. This terrain looks like a pair of pants. The two ridges are Cas fo Dheas and Cas fo Tuath (the south leg and the north leg), and Beinn Choradail was once called Teach an Truibhais – the crotch of the trousers.
The people of Coradail were evicted in the 1920s. Their ruined houses still stand, and all around them are the remnants of cultivated fields. Above the ruins on the north side of the glen there's a small cave; Uamh a’ Phrionnsa (The Prince’s Cave). But the Prince did not stay there. He stayed in a forester’s cottage on the south side of the glen. Below are some photos of Corodail I took during a camping trip in 2012.
|Campsite extraordinaire - looking east to Rubha Hellisdale|
|Another view of the campsite - looking up the glen towards the Forester's Cottage|
|This is marked on the OS map as the Prince's Cave - but he did not stay here|
|Probable site of the Forester's Cottage|
|The Prince's Pool below the Forester's Cottage - that's my name for it, but it would certainly be a nice spot to bathe|
|Time to head back - the ridge to Glen Hellisdale - 6 hours later I would reach the road|